Urge the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and President Obama to pass the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act.
What is the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act?
The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act (H.R.3027), sponsored by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY 4), is a bill that would eliminate the use of corporal punishment in public and private schools that serve students receiving federal services.
According to Department of Education statistics, each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of school children are subjected to corporal punishment in public schools.
Data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights shows that over 220,000 students in 20 states, in schools across the country are corporally punished, and studies indicate that corporal punishment in schools has a negative effect on students. Children of color and with disabilities experience corporal punishment at disproportionate rates.
School corporal punishment is usually executed in the form of `paddling', or striking students with a wooden paddle on their buttocks or legs, which can result in abrasions, bruising, severe muscle injury, hematomas, whiplash damage, life-threatening hemorrhages, and other medical complications that may require hospitalization. It is used in many instances for minor disciplinary infractions, such as being tardy or violating the dress code. National research shows students have been subjected to corporal punishment in schools as a means of discipline, to force compliance, or as a substitute for appropriate educational support.
However, corporal punishment has resulted in physical injury and psychological trauma to children in public and private schools. Social skills development after the use of corporal punishment may be severely altered, leading to aggressive behaviors.
Gross racial disparity exists in the execution of corporal punishment of public schoolchildren, and Black schoolchildren are disproportionately corporally punished. The most recent available statistics show that African-American students make up 17.1 percent of the national student population, but 35.6 percent of all students subjected to physical punishment at school.
According to the Department of Education, while African Americans made up 17.1 percent of public school students nationwide, they accounted for 35.6 percent of those who were paddled during the 2006-2007 school year. Similarly, although students with disabilities constituted 13.7 percent of all public school students, they made up 18.8 percent of those who are subjected to corporal punishment. These students are often punished simply for behaviors arising out of their disabilities, such as autism or Tourette's syndrome.
Public school children with disabilities are subjected to corporal punishment at disproportionately high rates, approximately twice the rate of the general student population in some States.
The bottom line is corporal punishment does not foster positive environments for students to thrive and grow.
Behavioral interventions for children must promote the right of all children to be treated with dignity. All children have the right to be free from any corporal punishment.
Safe, effective, evidence-based strategies are available to support children who display challenging behaviors in school settings. School personnel have the right to work in a safe environment and should be provided training and support to prevent injury and trauma to themselves and others.
According to the Department of Education's Technical Assistance Center on School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, outcomes associated with school-wide positive behavior support are decreased office discipline referrals, increased instructional time, decreased administrator time spent on discipline issues, efficient and effective use of scarce resources, and increased perception of school safety and sustainability through a team approach.
What does the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act do?
The purpose of the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act is to "(1) eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools; (2) ensure the safety of all students and school personnel in schools and promote a positive school culture and climate; (3) assist States, local educational agencies, and schools in identifying and implementing effective evidence-based models to prevent and reduce--(A) corporal punishment in schools;(B) aversive behavior interventions that compromise health and safety; and(C) physical, emotional, or psychological abuse."
The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act will
-amend the General Education Provisions Act to prohibit the Secretary of Education from providing education funding to any educational agency or institution that allows school personnel to inflict corporal punishment upon a student as a form of punishment or to modify undesirable behavior.
-require each state to submit a plan to the Secretary, within 18 months of this Act's enactment and every third year thereafter, that describes how the state eliminates the use of corporal punishment in schools and makes school personnel and parents aware of its policies and procedures for doing so.
-authorize the Secretary to award three-year grants to states and, through them, competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to assist them in improving school climate and culture by implementing school-wide positive behavior supports.
-require grant and subgrant funds to be used for professional training, technical assistance, research, and outreach regarding positive behavior supports. Requires LEAs to ensure that private school personnel can participate, on an equitable basis, in activities supported by such funds.
-authorize the Secretary to allocate funds to the Secretary of the Interior to carry out such activities with regard to schools operated or funded by the Department of the Interior.
-direct the Secretary to conduct a national assessment to determine compliance with this Act's requirements and identify best practices regarding positive behavior support professional training programs.
-give Protection and Advocacy Systems the authority provided under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 to investigate, monitor, and enforce this Act's protections for students.
What can you do to get the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act passed?
Please write to and/or call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and President to pass the the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act (H.R.3027). Also ask your U.S. Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act.
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